Seminar details

September 11, 2018, 12:00 pm @ Small Lecture Theatre

Dr Mary Herbert, Wellcome Trust Centre for Mitochondrial Research, Newcastle Fertility Centre, Institute of Genetic Medicine, Newcastle

Host: Federico Pelisch & Ian Ganley


The fertilised egg inherits its nuclear DNA from both parents and its mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) only from the mother.  Maternal transmission of both genomes can be hazardous. First, transmission of mutated mtDNA can cause serious life-limiting diseases. Because of a phenomenon known as the mtDNA genetic bottleneck, women who carry pathogenic mutations are at risk of transmitting serious disease in their children.  Second, meiosis, the specialised cell division by which gametes transmit a single copy of each chromosome, becomes increasingly error prone as women get older. As a consequence, the chance of establishing a viable pregnancy declines markedly from the age of ~35 onwards. I will present our recent data on the mechanisms underlying the association between female age and meiotic segregation errors.  In addition, I will present our work on the development of reproductive technologies designed to reduce the risk of mtDNA disease in children born to affected women.